Isolated Children's and Parents' Association takes 50th meeting online

By Leah Tindale
April 2 2022 - 4:00am
The ICPA WA 50th conference was held earlier this month, but due to the pandemic it had to be moved online.

COVID-19 restrictions forced the Isolated Children's and Parents' Association (ICPA) to make its 50th WA conference an online only event last month.

While it couldn't hold all the glitz, glamour and celebrations that was due its 50 years, president Sally Brindal said the event was still successful.

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The annual conference offers an opportunity to present motions for the following year, gather together, and in the case of the anniversary, reflect and celebrate ICPA's successes.

Ms Brindal said one of those motions centred on the practical placements for university students from remote areas.

The organisation is also looking at recognising the work of teachers, who because of the pandemic, are putting in hours of work in educating their own children at home, as well as recognising the work of retired teachers who assist parents with the supervision of children's education.

The ICPA branches want this work to contribute to the hours required to remain registered as a teacher.

"We will be trying to get universities and the department to work together to put that into some format, so progress can be made in those areas," Ms Brindal said.

"Things do usually take a long time to happen, but certainly there is interest for that to progress."

School camps was another major talking point.

The ICPA previously raised concerns about the maintenance, upkeep and availability of services to children when the government handed the running of camp schools to private operators.

Concern also centred on the quality of a Goldfields facility that is being bypassed for alternative venues and accommodation for camps at considerable cost to their schools, parents and communities.

"We were assured that there would be no decline in either services or availability and that motion has just highlighted it's not the case, which is very disappointing, so we will be following up further," Ms Brindal said.

"They've had all this time, especially during COVID, to make sure things are brought up to speed."

Ms Brindal said the camp schools were fantastic facilities and it was a shame that a lot were in disrepair.

"The strategy from here is following up on the motions that have been presented and trying to get some action to bring them to fruition," she said.

With the first Federal ICPA conference in two years set for August, everyone is hopeful of getting together in person this year.

Ms Brindal said their first online State conference was a success, having both positives and negatives.

"We could reach more people who would otherwise be unable to attend, but the biggest negative I felt was that the social interaction was really missing," she said.

"The different format was great to do but I think I would prefer face-to-face."

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Although they couldn't host a 50th celebration, the occasion will be recognised.

"We will still celebrate the 50th next year, but this year we wanted to celebrate in some way without doing what's going to be done next year," Ms Brindal said.

"People enjoyed the messages and stories, like a message from the founding president and from a couple of our life members, people enjoyed those little human touches I think."

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